Online Survey Will Help Leverage Investments in Air Photos and Elevation Data
By Chris Cialek, Land Management Information Center
In a new project sponsored by FEMA and the DNR, the Minnesota Department of Administration is currently conducting a web-based inventory of digital air photo and elevation data holdings and acquisition plans in Minnesota and adjacent states and provinces. The goal of the Statewide Elevation and Imagery Inventory – SEII – is to provide critical information to local, city, county, state and federal governments, the private sector and Minnesota’s citizens so that they can more accurately and economically plan future data collection projects. The survey is intended to be filled out by project managers, sponsors or stewards of digital elevation or aerial photography for cities, watersheds, counties, and utility corridors, provincial or statewide programs. Inventory results will be distributed to the public on the website in the form of maps and reports.
The SEII is a community-wide effort to help find and understand where data already exists, where it is currently being collected, and where plans are being developed for future collection. There is no intention to obtain or distribute data; simply to inform and bring together potential users and investment partners. The information being gathered includes:
- The type of data collected, or planned to be collected
- Where it is located
- Details about its quality and vintage
- Who to contact for more information
How does the SEII work? The first step is to create a personal user account. The SEII website allows you to easily create and manage information about the data you maintain or are otherwise familiar with. As a registered contributor, you can come back later to update your information whenever it changes or when you have new information to add.
Information is organized at two levels. Contributors first describe a project – such as: The Gopher County 2005 Digital Air Photo Project. They are then asked to describe one or more data sets that make up that project – for example: Data Set 1: black and white aerial photography taken in April (leaf off) and Data Set 2: color infrared photography taken in August (leaf on).
The SEII website is easy to navigate through the use of tabs. You can save your work, review and edit it at any time; exit the system and return to continue adding information whenever convenient. Pop-up maps allow you to quickly draw your project area - right on the screen.
A variety of search functions provide access to all information that has been published up to that point. LMIC is currently designing more detailed reporting functions, including providing maps that illustrate areas with existing or planned data and areas where prospective data projects are in jeopardy of overlapping.
How can you contribute to the SEII? If you create, manage or know about elevation or imagery data, please take a few minutes to share the details. To add your information to the inventory, go to www.lmic.state.mn.us/SEII/ and follow the directions to get started.
If you have questions or would like to learn more about the SEII, please contact Norm Anderson at the Land Management Information Center; 651-201-2483; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Digital aerial photography has become a staple in the delivery of municipal government land management services including assessment, zoning, utilities and mapping.
Sponsors: LMIC is developing the SEII with funds provided by FEMA through the Minnesota DNR’s Floodplain Management Program. The SEII has been designed with active participation by the U.S. Geological Survey, MetroGIS, League of Minnesota Cities, Association of Minnesota Counties and Pine to Prairie GIS User Group.